The key to having a healthy baby is to take good care of your own health. The healthier you are, the stronger your baby is likely to be.
PPHP is proud to offer CenteringPregnancy in addition to traditional prenatal care.
What is Prenatal Care?
Prenatal care is the care you receive during pregnancy from a health care provider, like a doctor, midwife, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who will make sure you and your developing fetus are as healthy and strong as possible. Through regular checkups you will learn how to manage the discomforts of pregnancy, have any testing you may need, learn warning signs, and ask any questions you may have.
Prenatal care also includes advice on how mothers-to-be can best care for themselves. Learning about good nutrition, developing good eating habits, exercising sensibly, and getting plenty of rest are prime examples.
Can I Get Free or Low Cost Prenatal Care?
You may be eligible for FREE prenatal care through the Medicaid for Pregnant Women program offered at PPHP medical centers.
Medicaid for Pregnant Women offers complete pregnancy care and other health care services to women and teens who live in New York State and meet certain income guidelines. Call (800) 230-PLAN to find out if you are eligible.
What Happens During a Prenatal Visit?
Through discussions with your health care provider you will learn what works best and what habits might need changing for a healthy pregnancy. You may also be offered certain tests and physical exams to make sure you are healthy and the fetus is doing well.
Some common prenatal tests that identify possible birth defects and other abnormalities include:
- Alpha-fetoprotein or AFP -- a blood test that measures the risk for chromosome irregularities like Down syndrome, spina bifida (a spinal defect), and other birth defects.
- Cystic fibrosis -- a blood test that looks into a genetic disorder which affects the exocrine glands. There are usually no symptoms but can be serious in the advanced stages.
- Hemoglobin electrophoresis -- a blood test that checks for sickle cell disease. It’s a genetic disorder which can cause mild anemia or, in some cases, serious illness.
Blood testing can also isolate infections which could cause miscarriage or other problems.
Where Can I Get Prenatal Care?
Please call 800-230-PLAN to make your prenatal care appointment today.
What Else Can I Do?
It’s important to take care of yourself between visits. Here are some suggestions.
Eat Healthy Select balanced meals from the five food groups: grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They provide important nutrients to you and your developing fetus.
Eat Often and Lighter Meals To avoid heartburn and discomfort, it’s best to eat 4 to 6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 bigger meals. Don’t overeat. To support your fetus’s growth, you only need 300 extra calories per day. Avoid excess fat, sugar, and sodium.
Drink Liquids Be sure to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water, juice, or milk every day.
Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, quit as soon as you know you are pregnant These dangerous habits can cause long-term harm to your baby. Ask your health care provider for resources to help you stop.
Take Prenatal Vitamins and Folic Acid One of the most important things a pregnant woman can do is to take folic acid – a B vitamin that can prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Take a multivitamin that contains 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid every day. Also, ask your health care provider if you need to take an iron or calcium supplement too.
Limit Caffeine Caffeine has many negative effects on healthy fetal development. Limit consumption to 200 milligrams per day (about the amount contained in a 12-ounce cup of coffee). Chocolate, soda, tea, and some over-the-counter medicines also contain caffeine. Read labels on food, drinks, and medicine to know how much caffeine you’re getting and ask your health care provider if you’re unsure
Exercise Sensibly Talk to your health care provider about what types of exercise and physical activity are best during pregnancy.
Be Careful About Medications Before taking any medication, even over-the-counter, consult your health care provider. Pain medications for headaches or antihistamines for colds that contain aspirin or ibuprofen can be harmful to the fetus.
Centering is a unique style of prenatal care in a group setting. Its aim is to build a community that empowers pregnant people to be actively involved in their own care and equips them to make healthy choices throughout their pregnancy and beyond.
Expectant patients meet for 10 sessions with a Centering clinician (doctor, midwife, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) and group of up to 10 other pregnant people that are due around the same time.
At each prenatal visit pregnant patients have one on one time with their Centering clinician to have their baby checked and to discuss any private concerns. This one-on-one time will replace your regular prenatal appointment. The remaining time is used to talk about pregnancy issues that are relevant to the group, such as exercise, nutrition, reducing stress, signs of labor, breastfeeding, new baby care, and after delivery issues.
Will I still get the ultrasounds and lab tests that I expect in prenatal care?
Yes, you will still get the same prenatal care in Centering that you would get one-on-one with your clinician. The labs, prescriptions, and ultrasounds will be ordered for you as appropriate by your Centering clinician.
Why do we recommend Centering?
Centering group visits offer unhurried time with your clinician. Centering clinicians and patients spend about 20 hours together in group visits. This is about ten times more time than with traditional individual visits. It is fun and satisfying for the patients and Centering clinicians to get to know each other better.
Because you know the dates and times for all your visits at the beginning of your pregnancy it is easier to plan around work and arrange childcare. In general, each of your Centering visits will occur at the same time and on the same day of the week. Group sessions occur every month in the beginning of your pregnancy and then twice per month closer to your due date. Each 90-minute session starts and ends at the scheduled time.
Most pregnant patients who have participated in this type of care tell us how supportive and reassuring it is to connect with other pregnant patients going through the same experiences of pregnancy. You have the chance to get to know other parents and perhaps develop a set of lifelong friends. Many times, another pregnant patient asks just the question that you were wondering about. You are not alone. We recommend Centering groups because it helps you stay healthier in pregnancy and beyond. For example, studies show that patients in Centering groups are less likely to give birth prematurely.
What is the cost of Centering?
There is no extra charge to you for CenteringPregnancy. Your cost share is the same as if you had traditional care and is determined by your insurance benefits.
When and where do groups meet?
Groups are offered at two PPHP health center locations:
Upon choosing Centering, you will receive all 10 appointment dates and time in advance.
How do I sign up?
During your prenatal visit, you will be given the option of choosing between CenteringPregnancy prenatal care or traditional prenatal care. You can enroll in Centering at that time.
Where can I get more information about CenteringPregnancy?
To learn more about CenteringPregnancy, read our brochure.